Guess what! One of my favorite places in the world isn't actually real. It's in a video game. BIG SURPRISE. I've already done a post about Mass Effect and how cool I found that one spaceship to be, but my relationship with World of Warcraft goes much deeper than just a casual fling with some BioWare RPG. Okay, yeah, for a few years there I was pretty addicted to it and put off doing normal human things like eating and bowel movements in favor of leveling my mage or raiding on my holy priest, but let's forget that for a moment! Let's forget that I abandoned my friends for a year for this game, and just remember the good times. And there were many of those.
Sometimes I try to tell people about WoW, and how much I loved it, and I basically always come off sounding like a meth addict or an unforgivable loser. The fact is, though, and I've come to realize this more clearly recently -- I don't miss the gameplay of WoW so much. I don't miss the PvP (although twinking around in Arathi Basin on my 49 hunter was always a good time), and I don't miss raiding, unless you count the golden days of Karazhan when Greg was shamelessly flirting with me in whispers, and that crazy-eyed Australian girl kept copying my mage specs because I was clearly the cooler female in the guild. No, those were just perks. What I mostly miss, I've found, is the world itself. The landscapes, the magic, the inhabitants, the music -- they all go together to create this pretty badass world that you can explore in its entirety. I feel like the world of Azeroth is a place I actually used to live in, and now I've left, but I miss it because I'll probably never experience like I did the first time.
Admittedly a lot of the appeal for me was also in the social nature of WoW. I got to spend time and interact with Greg while gaming, which is pretty fucking neat. We also had several out-of-state friends who we knew mostly through WoW or other online games. Now Greg is living with one of them in Salt Lake, so clearly we made some legit connections in game! (That, or Greg's roommate is waiting patiently for the opportune moment in which to kill and eat him.)
The thing is, though, I really do miss the world of the game. I particularly miss one continent that was introduced in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, called Northrend. I remember boarding the zeppelin from Undercity to Howling Fjord for the first time, and becoming totally obsessed with the music that played on it. I mean, how can you not be obsessed with these glorious harmonious strains? Scandinavian music is the best.
I could make an entire post on the music of WoW, but I won't, unless you want me to, and then I will. Because seriously, it's the best game music ever made, not counting Ocarina of Time, and selected music from Fable II. I used to go to certain zones in WoW just to listen to the music there. Or I'd be in the middle of questing or something, and my favorite bit of the song would start, and I'd drop everything just to sit and listen. I know. I'm just that cool.
Northrend is such a great place, though. It's dark and snowy and Scandinavian, mysterious and full of hulking viking-like creatures. I have dreams about it. (I know. I'm just that cool.) Maybe these screenshots I took years ago will give you a tiny insight into how beautiful and enthralling WoW, particularly Northrend, can be. I just feel like people don't pay enough attention to how lovely the game is. I wish it were a real world that I could live in. I feel homesick for a place I've never been. Sigh.